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Recently, an enlisted military member defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.) had the court-martial case he faced dropped by the military before the case went to trial.
The military client was accused of gun and alcohol related offenses, and he originally faced a possible general court-martial (GCM) trial. To that end, the case proceeded to an Article 32 pretrial hearing, which is a requirement for a GCM trial. In the military, a GCM is considered roughly akin to a “felony” trial, and it is the most serious type of court-martial.
During the Article 32 hearing, the defense challenged some of the issues surrounding the firearm offense, and we received a favorable recommendation from the Article 32 Preliminary Hearing Officer (PHO). Based on that recommendation, the case was referred to trial as a special court-martial (SPCM), instead of a GCM. In the military, a SPCM is considered roughly akin to a “misdemeanor” trial.
The defense then submitted a request that the court-martial case be dropped, and the case be handled through administrative action instead. That request was denied by the government. In the meantime, as the case proceeded toward trial, the defense raised legal issues through pretrial motions and disputed factual issues. Based on these issues, the defense asked for reconsideration of the request that the court-martial case be dropped in favor of administrative action, and that reconsideration request was approved by the government. The court-martial case was dropped in favor of handling the case administratively.
As a result, a case that began at the most serious level of potential court-martial ended with no court-martial at all. If there had been a court-martial trial and conviction, the client would have had a criminal record and would face a sentence that could include jail time and a punitive discharge. Instead, he avoided the lifelong challenges associated with such a negative court outcome.
While this military court-martial case was successfully defended, it is important to understand that every case has different facts, and success in previous cases does not guarantee success in any particular future case. No military lawyer or civilian defense lawyer, including those who specialize in military law, can guarantee the outcome of any military trial or case.
The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens offer free consultations for a case you may be involved in. Just call us.